When Nikki Sixx chose opening band; The Cringe, from New York, USA to warm up the crowd at Rexall Place, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, on November 18, 2014, he was likely hedging his bets. But a sure thing was going to be this; The Cringe were going to be far worse than anything the following acts were going to do, and the choice of band name was very, erm, apt. Vocalist John Cusimano was bordering on certifiable with his vocal delivery of Black Sabbath’s Paranoid. Larry the Lamb would have given a better performance. Climbing into the security barrier, and then struggling to get back around to the side of the stage while performing, as an opener, that very few people are watching, is not going to gain you brownie points, and attempting to cover Jailbreak, by Thin Lizzy, is really not the greatest idea either. While the sound quality from the musicians was very good, the vocal sounded like it was stopping and starting, and while the intention was good, the crowd were not appreciative.
Alice Cooper however, is on a whole different level. Naturally! It seemed as if the capacity crowd was almost all in attendance, just for the very special guest.
Of course, this man has been performing his musical theatre for over fifty years. He is now in his late 60’s, and still shakes his snake hips on stage like a 20-year-old. Cooper is revered, and rightly so. Starting his set with Hello Hooray, a Judy Collins cover, Cooper then ran through the hits, but not randomly. No, the set was done with finesse, timing, and professionalism. When he hit song six; Poison, which was a massive hit the world over in 1989, during the MTV age, the crowd went fucking crazy. Hardly surprising, as the average age of attendees, upon glancing around the arena, was 48!
Replacing his former female lead guitarist Orianthi, with the very talented Nita Strauss, who also plays guitar with The Iron Maidens and Femme Fatale, did the man Alice no damage. Strauss is a powerful musician, and held her own in a stunning manner, through many instrument changes and a killer solo.
Dirty Diamonds saw the maestro throw strings of faux diamonds into the crowd, causing a mini frenzy on the floor.
Feed My Frankenstein, Ballad of Dwight Fry, Killer and I Love The Dead gave way to the real theatrical element of the show, with an electrocution, a straight jacket and a guillotine, added to the mix.
Of course the closing song was Schools Out, but it could have been Happy Birthday, for all the audience cared. Cooper had them hooked from the get go, and they would have probably been happy just to see him stand on stage, and crack whips all night. If you only went to the show to see the special guest, the only downfall was that the set was far too short.
When a headlining band starts playing songs from The Sound of Music as their intro, you know shit is up! So Long, Farewell, was that song, and in this particular case, it is very fitting. After going hard for 30 years, the gig (well the touring side of it) is up for Motley Crue. A contract was signed by all four members in January 2014, which prevents them from touring as a band ever again. The kicker is that residencies, and one-off appearances, are not mentioned within that contract. So, there is still a chance you may get to see the boys play live again!
It doesn’t matter about the set list at a show like this. Everyone has a different favorite, Home Sweet Home is the guaranteed finale, and Looks That Kill, Shout At The Devil, Dr Feelgood, Smokin’ In The Boys Room,On WIth The Show, and Girl Don’t Go Away Mad (Just Go Away) are a given.
When the lights go up nothing has really changed since the last time that the band were through Edmonton, in April 2013. Vocalist Vince Neil, did look to be wearing a Victorian era dress on first glance, but as the light changed it became apparent that it was indeed just a very long jacket. Neils reasoning for the bands longevity was that “we drank and took drugs every day, for years.” A little flawed, when you consider he is the only one that drinks any more, and has been for quite a number of years!
Throughout the set, Neils vocal was sketchy. He seemed to miss words out, whether from breathlessness, or whether he was forgetting them , was not apparent. But it is a fact, that the best years of Neils vocals are certainly behind him. However, when he hits it right, he is STILL the voice of Motley Crue.
Mick Mars still hammers it out on the guitar, despite his obvious physical illness, he doesn’t miss a beat, and there was even a smile from the man, as Nikki Sixx gave his spiel on decision making, and introduced his band mates, half way through the set. A nice, personal touch, from the main man behind the band, and a little guiding hand for those in the audience who are not sure about life, and choices.
Sixx told the story of how the band evolved on the streets of Hollywood, and how girls were “taking their pussies out of their pants and throwing them at Vince, who was catching them with his teeth,” at the show where the four were to finally meet. What a visual. What a story!
Tommy Lee appeared to have a crotch cam going on! There were no shots of his face on the big screen for at least the first six songs! However, there was more to see as Lee took to the “Cruecify” roller coaster for his drum solo. Those watching closely would be left trying to figure out how he was drumming, as it looked as if his hands were moving in reverse. Sick, twisted, motherfucker, never fails to amaze!
Of course Motley Crue is now pure nostalgia. Most of those in attendance grew up with this band. No-one is expecting perfection, they just want the music and the memories. They got them, in heaps. Along with some incredible pyro! Thank you for the memories.
Motley Crue … On With The Show.
Karen G Nov 19 2014